Four facet syndrome treatment exercises that are performed in water

If you’ve been diagnosed with facet syndrome, you likely have multiple treatment options. A physician can help you find the best approach for you based on several individual factors, such as the severity of your symptoms, the affected area of your spine and your age, overall health and preferences. Most people find nonsurgical techniques to be very effective – so much so, in fact, that surgery is rarely needed for facet syndrome treatment.

Facet syndrome, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, usually develops along with the natural aging process as degenerative changes occur gradually in the spine over time. This can cause the facet joints, which link the vertebrae together, to become painfully inflamed as their smooth cartilage lining slowly wears away. Because cartilage cannot be restored, most treatments for facet syndrome focus on symptom management. Oftentimes, this can be accomplished with nonsurgical treatments like medication, stretching and low-impact exercise.

The benefits of water exercise for facet syndrome treatment

One type of low-impact exercise that can be particularly effective for facet syndrome treatment is water therapy. The natural buoyancy of water can help support the body’s weight, taking pressure off damaged spinal joints. This, in turn, can facilitate a wider range of motion for many key body parts, improving flexibility and making exercise more effective. Also, the density of water can provide resistance to movements, helping to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine.

Pool therapy exercises can range from simple routines performed in the shallow end of a pool to underwater conditioning using a high-tech treadmill. To help ensure that your treatment plan will be effective, it should be custom-tailored to your unique needs and condition.

Here are some basic water exercise techniques that may be recommended for facet syndrome treatment:

  1. Pool walking. Walking forward and backward in chest-high water works the leg muscles with minimal impact on the hips and knees.
  2. Leg lifts. This exercise is performed while standing in chest-deep water and holding onto the side of a pool. One leg is straightened and repeatedly raised upward to hip level and then lowered. The knee of the supporting leg is kept slightly bent. This will stretch and strengthen the muscles in the leg, hip and lower back.
  3. Wall-facing leg stretch. Performed in a “Superman” position, with the hands resting on the side of a pool and the body and legs extended outward, this stretch works all of the spinal joints, as well as the shoulder muscles.
  4. Quadruped activity. This exercise involves floating on the back — a flotation device may be used if necessary — while making paddling motions with the arms and legs.

Surgical treatment

Although surgery is generally viewed as a last resort, the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute can perform minimally invasive spine surgery for facet syndrome treatment when necessary. If you’re currently reviewing your surgical facet syndrome treatment options, you may want to find out whether you’re a candidate for minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute. To learn more, contact us today.